Monday, October 12, 2009

Remembering My Father

As many of you know my father passed away on Friday afternoon. My father read this blog religiously. He was always bothering me about posting more. Things got pretty quiet over here once I discovered Twitter and Facebook, two services my father never understood or joined.

As I wrote his obit last night I realized there are many things that needed to be said about my father that don't fit into the obit. My father was a coal miner from the time he was a teenager until he was forced into early retirement due to a back injury. While I was glad he got to retire early, my grandfather Gardner died in a mining accident when my father was 14, and he was in constant pain from the injury for the rest of his life.

My father was a member of the West Virginia National Guard. He worked his way up from Private to Staff Sergeant with Detachment-1 157th Military Police Company based in Richwood, WV. As a member of the Guard he helped rescue miners trapped in a flooded mine at Hominy Falls, was called to keep the peace during various floods in WV and at the State Penitentiary at Moundsville when prisoners took five guards hostage. And he responded with other rescuers to Buffalo Creek to retrieve the bodies and comfort the living. One of my favorite pictures of my father is in his uniform with my little sister when she is about three. (I don't have that picture here or I would post it.) When I was around seven my father purchased me an Army uniform at the PX while he was at "summer camp'. I have fond memories of wearing it in the Cherry River Festival Parade.

157th. Military Police Company Camp Dawson, West Virginia, August 22 to June 1968

My father is far left in the second row

My father was an amateur radio operator. In 1998 and in 1996 he and other amateur radio operators spend tireless hours providing flood relief and communications to Marlinton and surrounding areas. He came up the old way in ham radio. He first built his own Heath Kit radio and learned morse code. When I decided to enter the hobby in the late 1990s he was very proud.

My Father Loved to Cook

My father died young. He was born in 1942. My father had four brothers and two sisters. He also leaves behind my mom, my sister, and a granddaughter. We leaned he had stage IV cancer the first week of July. We all knew this day would come, but we thought we had more time. I've spend the past week sitting with him as he battled cancer. First in a hospital room and finally in a hospice house.

My father had many friends, but I don't think he knew how many friends he had. In the end my father wanted no funeral nor flowers. As we prepare to bury him in a private ceremony tomorrow, thanks for taking the time to help me remember my father In lieu of flowers we ask you make a donation to Bowers Hospice House in Beckley, WV.

My father always said he wanted someone to sing 'Sweet Beulah Land' at his funeral. Since in his last days he requested no funeral, this one is for you dad:


Blogger Sharon said...

Your father sounds like an amazing, wonderful and strong man. This is a beautiful tribute to his life.

You, and your family, are in our continued thoughts and prayers.

8:39 PM  
Blogger oncee said...

Thanks Sharon

8:45 PM  
Blogger michaeltylerwv said...

Your Dad, my Dad , my older brother and myself all served with your dad in the WV National Guard. He was always very good to me. I gave him his first Ham Radio test to get him started into the hobby of Ham Radio...He also took the C.E.R.T. training with me and operated the FRS Net in town.I will very much miss him...73's old friend..wb8seo de wa8ywo...mike tyler

9:34 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

That was a beautiful post about your dad. You and your family are in my prayers (hugs)

10:40 PM  
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Bill - what a touching tribute to your father. Love you, man. God bless you and your family, and I'm sure he has welcomed him into his kingdom.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Bob Coffield said...

Like Skip commented - a wonderful tribute to your dad. He would be touched by what you have written. Thanks for sharing with all of us. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Maisyday said...

What a beautiful post about your father. You and your family are in my prayers.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

As stated above, that is quite a tribute to your father. That is perhaps the best song Squire Parsons, ironically from West Virginia, has ever written and the pictures were beautiful. I lost my dad 11 years ago and the pain of missing him is NEVER gone....but he's in Sweet Beulah Land, which give me comfort. My mom joined him just a few months ago. I'm sorry for your loss but I'm glad you had a dad who left you with such wonderful memories.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Joycee said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Father. He sounds like he touched many lives. You have my deepest sympathy.
joy c. in arkansas

1:40 PM  
Blogger jedijawa said...

I'm sorry man.

4:24 AM  

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